MFPA celebrates its 50th anniversary
An eminent architect in the early 1970s, Mr Roger Degiorgio, shared his idea of setting up a federation for professional organisations, with Mr John Chadwick, then Director of the Commonwealth Foundation. The latter immediately gave his full support to this concept and on 19 February 1971, the Malta Federation of Professional Bodies was born, changing its name to Malta Federation of Professional Associations (MFPA) in 1999. It was founded by seven members, five of which are still active today: Kamra tal-Periti, Dental Association of Malta, Malta Institute of Accountants, Medical Association of Malta and Malta Association of Electrical Engineers, which later joined other engineering disciplines and formed the Chamber of Engineers. The other two founding members, the Economic Society of Malta and the Graduate Teachers Association dissolved a few years later. The late Economist Prof Salvinu Busuttil was the first President of MFPA.
With the introduction of more courses at the University of Malta, the professional population in Malta increased, more professional organisations were established and hence the Federation started attracting more members. Today MFPA comprises 17 professional organisations representing approximately 10,000 professionals in Malta. The aims and objectives set in 1971 are still valid today:
- to promote different professions;
- to maintain professional standards;
- to promote inter-professional relationships; and
- to contribute towards the advancement of the interests of society.
Since its foundation, MFPA sought to contribute to the improvement of Maltese society by bringing the professionals’ perspective to authorities, politicians and policy makers. It also participated actively during the period of Malta’s accession in the EU, the Pensions Reform as well as the Professional Qualifications Directive.
One of the roles of the Federation is to bring together different member organisations to discuss topics of general and common interest. This leads to better understanding of different professions and promote interdisciplinary relationships.
For the past 17 years, the MFPA has been involved at European level through its membership within the European Council of the Liberal Professions, CEPLIS. It has contributed to various programmes such as the publication of the Common Values for Professionals. CEPLIS Director General Theodoros Koutroubas, claimed that “MFPA has achieved results and reputation inversely proportional to the size of its beautiful island country.”
The Federation has also collaborated in various EU funded projects with Confprofessioni, the Italian Federation of Liberal professionals. Its President, Gaetano Stella, claimed that MFPA has always been able to play a key role in accompanying and representing Maltese liberal professionals, thanks to its presence and the continuity of its action: “The collaboration between our Confederations has been strengthened year after year by the common European commitment, by operating for the benefit of occupational sustainability of professional firms, training and professional ethics and joining forces in partnerships in important European projects.”
The current President of MFPA, Ms Roberta Farrugia Debono, believes that the Federation has a very important role in society. She sees its main role to be the voice of the liberal professional in civil society: “It has also the role of putting on the national agenda issues that are of interest both to the professionals themselves as well as the persons who avail themselves of the services of the professional. It promotes good ethical practice at the basis of what constitutes the work of a professional.” Ms Farrugia Debono’s vision for the Federation is that it becomes more of a stakeholder on the national scene such that the collective expertise is used to promote a better society that is focussed on the well-being of every individual.
Throughout this 50th anniversary year, MFPA will be holding various activities and events to increase its visibility. In recent years it embarked on two different projects: The Needs of the Professional in Gozo, funded by Gozo NGO scheme, and Professional Ethics: Safeguarding the service to the consumer, funded by the Voluntary Organisations Project Scheme, managed by MCVS. The research findings of the first highlighted the different challenges that professionals in Gozo encounter in Gozo rather than when working in Malta. The research in the second project outlined the perception of university students, new professionals, and consumers (service users) with regard to professional ethics. A new research will now be carried out to address the challenges highlighted in the previous two studies.
MFPA strongly feels that its sector’s strict adherence to ethical values constitutes much more than a mere legal obligation. It is the ultimate guarantee of a high-quality service to the consumer and the cornerstone of a relationship of trust between the professional and the clients/patients. The Federation continues to develop initiatives that accentuate the importance of professional ethics at a national level, including collaboration with member EU states. It is its contribution towards a competitive and ever-growing economy that remains at the service of citizens. MFPA is grateful to all present and past Presidents and Council members who have contributed, on a voluntary basis, to the Federation during these 50 years.
The member organisations forming part of the Federation are:
- Association of Podiatrists of Malta (APM)
- Association of Speech-Language Pathologists (ASLP)
- Chamber of Engineers (CoE)
- Dental Association of Malta (DAM)
- Kamra tal-Periti (KTP)
- Malta Association of Occupational Therapists (MAOT)
- Malta Association of Physiotherapists (MAP)
- Malta Association of Professional Conservators and Restorers (MAPCo-Re)
- Malta Association of Social Workers (MASW)
- Malta Association for the Counselling Profession (MACP)
- Malta Chamber of Pharmacists (MCOP)
- Malta Chamber of Psychologists (MCP)
- Malta Institute of Accountants (MIA)
- Malta Veterinary Association (MVA)
- Maltese Association of Youth Workers (MAY)
- Medical Association of Malta (MAM)
- Society of Medical Radiographers Malta (SRM)